No liquidation of PCSO intel funds in 2004, 2007
The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) did not liquidate its intelligence funds for election years 2004 and 2007, the Senate learned on Thursday.
Senate finance chair Franklin Drilon said Grace Pulido-Tan of the Commission on Audit (COA) complained during the budget hearing of her agency’s 2012 allocation about the lack of transparency in the perusal of intelligence funds.
“The COA chair is so exasperated with the manner that intelligence funds are being audited… because government offices that use them either simply issue certifications or the accounting is submitted through (sealed) envelopes,” Drilon told reporters after the hearing.
“Imagine, there were no liquidations of (intelligence) allocations in 2004 and 2007 which is significant (because these were) election years,” Drilon said.
“The COA said there were absolutely no records on file. The abuse of intelligence funds by the PCSO in the past administration is clearly seen by their manner in which (its) officials liquidated these funds,” the senator added.
“We do not even know how much (intelligence funds) were appropriated by the PCSO in those years, that has to be checked,” he also said.
The PCSO came under fire lately after the Senate obtained documents indicating it disposed of P160 million in intelligence funds in five and a half months leading to the 2010 elections.
Former PCSO Vice Chair and General Manager Rosario Uriarte said the amount was used to fund sleuthing for the detection of unscrupulous elements selling government-issued free medicines and the monitoring of agency-donated ambulances.
Uriarte also said intelligence funds were used to pay for the blood money demanded by families of the crime victims of overseas Filipino workers.
Senators raised eyebrows after learning that the PCSO did not demand liquidation for the proceeds of its small town lotto sales to members of the House of Representatives and regional and provincial offices of the Philippine National Police.
Drilon noted that in recent hearings of the Senate blue ribbon committee, PCSO intelligence funds were also “converted from corporate funds with the authorization of President Gloria Arroyo.”
He said that after Tan’s complaint, the Senate oversight committee on intelligence funds would now “be closely coordinating with COA to come up with more reasonable regulations.”
One solution being mulled is limiting the issuance of certifications and sealed envelopes only for liquidations of funds used in relation to national security and law enforcement.
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